Seashaped – Children Of The Universe – Album Review (Part II!)
So…here I am again to talk about this two-piece band from the UK who’s music I truly love – Seashaped. Now…technically…this is part II of the review concerning their latest album Children Of The Universe and I suppose part II of this experiment in both listening and writing as well. If you missed out on part I, we revealed a personal review I had written on their album from a first-impression perspective originally to only be shared between ourselves…but because Pete & Alison of Seashaped are so damn cool, they allowed me to publish that as an article while I listened again throughout the week in preparation for a follow-up perspective on their latest album. I still haven’t re-read the original article I’ve written…to tell you the truth, there’s a solid chance that a lot of what I’ll have to say here will be similar to what you’ve read in part I…I’m nearly positive I’ll repeat myself – these songs truly hold up over time…I’m bound to be every bit in love with their style & melodies as I was previously.
Anyhow…I mentioned I’d been listening to their album this week in preparation for this review…our 400th review in fact…and it couldn’t have gone to a more incredible duo. What I’ve always loved about Seashaped is just how innocent these two wonderful people really are; you’d be surprised after listening to their debut album A Pill For Everything, but I’d venture an educated guess that at the point I had personally communicated with them at the first time, they still doubted their validity within music. But if there’s one thing that’s certainly based in 100% fact – it’s that they know I’ve been honest with them about how I feel about their music after the part I review on Children Of The Universe…I can’t imagine I’ve given them any reason to doubt my sincerity, but just in case, I suppose there’s this to prove it…
I was, and am, of course happy to provide them with the confirmation of their place in music – these two absolutely belong here; and they absolutely belong echoing out of my speakers. The idea of potentially reviewing something twice is also a precarious one for a writer to take on…I don’t know if I’ll say anything new about how I feel towards this album…but I also don’t really know that I need to…
I think half of the point of this review to begin with is certainly to communicate just how willing I am to go back and listen to the music of Seashaped. For two people once uncertain…I can only hope that their confidence is building at the same astonishing rate as their development and creativity – these two are accomplishing the fantastic through their music, and they’ve truly done it again on this follow-up to their debut album.
Do I still have BEEF? Ha! I hope they know that expression over there in the UK…I’m definitely going under the assumption that ‘got beef?’ has made its way across the water by now… But YEAH I’ve still got BEEF with Seashaped and this album, even though I absolutely love it to death! Just hear me out please…put your torches out…no need to lynch me just yet…and you – with the screwdriver in your hand…you look truly dangerous and I think that’s a bizarre choice of something to hurt me with, but again – I assure you that you won’t need it…just listen for a second…
Children Of The Universe…is way too short. That’s RIGHT Pete & Al – I SAID IT. I mean…how COULD you do this to us? As I began to play through the album I felt like it came to a close way faster than I remembered! Now…part of that is my own goldfish brain…and part of that is that I simply enjoy their music so much that time just flies by me as I listen to them…so it’s KINDA my own fault I suppose. I do still think we make somewhat of a trade from Alison to Pete over this album more-so than their debut; and if he didn’t raise up his own performance level as much as he did, I’d have a much, much bigger problem with that. The fact is, they’ve found a timeless sound between them…it really doesn’t matter who takes the reins of the song or drives a particular melody; these two support each other through and through, whether it’s the music or outside of the music…and I love that – who wouldn’t?
And as the opening tune “Walking Back” starts up with its funky guitar-line…it’s like coming home once again. First off…if you haven’t checked out their original album, go and DO that so you can hear the progression in their music…right off the bat, this is a much more confident version of Seashaped bolting out of the gate here on Children Of The Universe. Pete drifts through his nearly Michael-Hutchence sound in an inspiring performance through his vocals…and I doubt I mentioned just how much I love the electric guitar sound that comes into this song…these two are getting inventive! With the additional strings and Alison’s perfect angelic backing vocals, they start this out strongly with challenging composition and emotionally-laden execution.
Now…I’m assuming Pete was loving the idea of getting that guitar to reveal the funk-within as he carries a similar style & tone into the opening of “Heart Undone.” Though the song becomes radically different in a beautiful pop verse that leads into one of the most spectacular & stunning moments Alison has put on record to date with this incredible chorus. “Heart Undone” had to be a winner for me last time around as well…just HAD to be…I love the contrast between the playful verse and the absolutely emotional chorus; I can’t express just how much she’s nailed that melody…beautiful.
“Wild Swimming” has one of the most inviting openings of the songs on this album…and another super-strong chorus from Alison who brings this song from good-to-great with her absolutely stunning performance. Very strong melody once again…her verse is strong, but it’s good that they’ve left room for that chorus to rise up to where it reaches…these are big ideas in song and they’re presented beautifully through the assembly. The bridge in “Wild Swimming” is also freakin fantastic…but all roads lead back to the beautiful job Alison has done on this chorus. If anything…maybe a little backing Pete would have been a good thing to add on here, but don’t get me wrong…I’m not complaining!
I cannot tell you any lies. While I might have had a break from the majority of this album before re-listening…that didn’t mean the world stopped turning entirely! And my eyes and ears are pretty sharp for how dull my brain can be…they notice things! So when Seashaped released the video for their lead single “Nothing Gets Simpler,” you better believe I had myself a watch or two…or seven…
AWESOME job done on a single-worthy track – the video for “Nothing Gets Simpler” is absolutely GOLD. Whomever filmed that deserves some high-praise because it turned out as bizarre and excellent as I would only hope it would; these visuals pack a MASSIVE impact…and as if the incredible guitar solo in “Nothing Get Simpler” didn’t make this song memorable enough, now they’ve got video to support this incredible song. Excellent programming and additional electro-elements working in their favour on this intensely-atmospheric song and I absolutely LOVED how into this video these two get! Check it out!
I have a nagging suspicion that “Small Town” was the track I had questioned before… After repeat listens…things can change. I feel like I appreciate this song more than I did on my first listen through and review; I love what Alison has come up with in the backing vocals to help drive this melody. I still feel like the chorus almost comes through a little too boldly on this song if that’s at all possible for a chorus… But in all truth, there’s some fantastic emotion in Pete’s voice on this track and while it might not contain hooks as strong in the chorus as the previous four songs did, it still has merit through some inspired vocals through the verse of this song.
“Mother” is like the song you wish you could put into a picture frame and give to your mom on Mother’s Day. Everything in this song stands out from lyrics to music to performance…this is a real emotionally-raw beauty. Like an opened-vein, Pete’s words drip onto the piano keys with melancholy sweetness; Alison’s backing vocals once again shine through like diamonds from the back of the melody. It’s an entirely personal song lyrically…and you can hear the depth of emotion put into this song. Great ideas here – I almost feel bad saying it, but melancholy and somewhat sad are really what Seashaped does unbelievably well. Of course I want them to be happy and proud of what they’ve accomplished on their entire album…but I hope they never lose that ability to reach into the somber & sweet melodies that they pull off in such emotionally-authentic ways.
What I don’t know if I said last time around either is whether or not I mentioned “Millions And Millions” should be the next single. This song is freakin HOT HOT HOT. Great bass subtly moves this track from place to place while the guitars and drums spread out around the smooth flow of the vocals from these two musical masterminds. I simply cannot in good conscience call them the underdogs of music anymore…with songs like this displaying the innovation that their tiny unit can achieve…well…quite frankly they’re leading the way at this point. “Millions And Millions” is a wicked display of ingenious melody, addicting rhythms and unbelievably smart vocals. Absolutely love Pete through the F/X on the chorus and how it once again matches with Alison’s voice…HOT SONG – nuff said!
As it ends with the title-track “Children Of The Universe” I know there’s no way I missed the power of this finale before on the first go around. Pete is such an interesting dude…to talk to him in general is great, to hear his voice au-natural is great, and through the filters it’s great too…I literally don’t know how I prefer to hear him most. I certainly appreciate how much he’s stepped out on this album and been unafraid to really try new things while in the direct spotlight. This final cut of the new record really takes it all to another level of creativity and madness all blended together perfectly with musical combinations you truly haven’t heard yet. At times it almost reminds me of Spacehog – anyone out there remember that highly bizarre-but-awesome space-pop band? This song really brings you into a whole new atmosphere and brings out a bursting heaviness in rock to their album. It’s like the LEAST subtle message in the world…these two POUND through this final song and let you into a whole new side of their music and sound…and believe me – they make sure that you get the message in this last tune!
Once it explodes…”Children Of The Universe” drifts back to the opening beauty of whence it came. At nearly nine-minutes long…this is an epic song with massive impact. The vocal sample at the end of this song is pretty much everything in the world that I want to hear in music…it’s so completely well-placed and so massively memorable through its message and ends the album in complete triumph. Seriously – someone put the flag down and mark this musical-territory theirs – they’ve done a tremendous job.
And there you have it! Did I repeat myself from everything I already said in the first review? More than likely. Again, these songs hold up beautifully over time and will live out long throughout my days in the speakers in front of my face inching ever so closer as I get older and more deaf. I already cannot wait for the next album…and with only EIGHT songs on this incredible album…I mean…they OWE us more do they not? Like…as in…there HAS to be a follow-up album right around the corner right? RIGHT?
Entitlement can be such a nasty thing. Good thing we’re able to call each other friends and they already know I’m just a jackass. J
Find out more about Seashaped at their official page: http://www.seashaped.co.uk/
Get the Children Of The Universe album here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/id968076501
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